For the newspaper is in all literalness the bible of democracy, the book out of which a people determines its conduct. It is the only serious book most people read. It is the only book they read every day.
If the estimate of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is correct, then Russia has lost the cold war in western Europe.
I generalized rashly: That is what kills political writing, this absurd pretence that you are delivering a great utterance. You never do. You are just a puzzled man making notes about what you think. You are not building the Pantheon, then why act like a graven image? You are drawing sketches in the sand which the sea will wash away.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is no crusader. He is no tribune of the people. He is no enemy of entrenched privilege. He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President.
Yet this corporate being, though so insubstantial to our senses, binds, in Burkes words, a man to his country with ties which though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. That is why young men die in battle for their countrys sake and why old men plant trees they will never sit under.
He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconceivable, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.
The central drama of our age is how the Western nations and the Asian peoples are to find a tolerable basis of co-existence.
Upon the standard to which the wise and honest will now repair it is written: You have lived the easy way; henceforth, you will live the hard way. You came into a great heritage made by the insight and the sweat and the blood of inspired and devoted and courageous men; thoughtlessly and in utmost self-indulgence you have all but squandered this inheritance. Now only by the heroic virtues which made this inheritance can you restore it again. You took the good things for granted. Now you must earn them again. For every right that you cherish, you have a duty which you must fulfill. For every hope that you entertain, you have a task that you must perform. For every good that you wish to preserve, you will have to sacrifice your comfort and your ease. There is nothing for nothing any longer.
When all think alike, then no one is thinking.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Norman Cousins American Journalist
- H. L. Mencken American Journalist, Literary Critic
- Carl Bernstein American Journalist
- James Fallows American Journalist
- Charles Kuralt American Journalist
- B. C. Forbes Scottish-born American Journalist
- Dorothy Thompson American Journalist
- Shana Alexander American Journalist
- Lincoln Steffens American Journalist
- Midge Decter American Journalist